PRESIDENTS CUP: Event heads to Canada in 2024 … What type of captain would (will) Mike Weir be?

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The following is an excerpt from Jon McCarthy’s Monday Morning Golf newsletter: Subscribe here

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CHARLOTTE, NC — The next stop for the Presidents Cup is Canada in 2024 and the event will look significantly different than 2007 when Royal Montreal last hosted, including one special touch that is sure to make the International team feel more at home than ever before.

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Much has changed about major golf tournaments in the past 15 years, so much so, that 2024 Executive Director Ryan Hart decided it was necessary to bring a contingent of the Montreal organizing committee to Quail Hollow to see in person just how big the event has become since it was last in Canada.

“There are some things you just have to see for yourself,” Hart said during a meeting with Canadian media.

Anyone who has attended the RBC Canadian Open, or any PGA Tour event, recently knows that there are the days of cramming into grandstands for six hours and wishing you had gone grabbed lunch and had more sunscreen before you sat down. Golf tournaments are now sprawling entertainment venues with massive hospitality areas, plenty of food and beverage options, and off-course activities fighting for your attention. All of which are even more important at Presidents Cups where 30 to 40 thousand fans are trying to watch just a handful of matches on most days.

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This year’s Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow was the biggest build-out in Cup history and the increased scale of the event — 40% larger than the PGA Tour’s flagship Players Championship — was obvious, with 700,000 square feet of grandstands, hospitality tents and concession areas all sporting the eye-catching new branding for the event. Quail Hollow, it should be noted, is a huge golf course seemingly built for these large events. Royal Montreal, on the other hand, is celebrating its 150th anniversary next year and likely wasn’t designed with food trucks, concerts, or a festival atmosphere in mind.

Does that mean Canadians will get a scaled-down version of the Presidents Cup?

“We’re not in the business of getting smaller,” Hart said, confirming that two years from now will only be bigger.

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What Royal Montreal lacks in spaciousness directly around its more traditional layout, it makes up for by being a 54-hole club, which actually equates to even more land than Quail Hollow had at its disposal.

The most striking difference fans and players will notice when they arrive in Montreal in two years, is, for the first time in Presidents Cup history, all on-course structures will be done in International Team black, rather than the traditional white. It will be a stark contrast to every other Presidents Cup and most other golf tournaments. Although just a cosmetic change, it will mark another important step in the growing identity of the International team, one that certainly won’t be lost on its players.

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Although it’s yet to be announced, Canadian Mike Weir is a lock to captain the International side in Montreal in 2024.

The five-time Presidents Cup player and three-time assistant captain will be tasked with continuing to build on an International team energy that Ernie Els started in Melbourne in 2019, and Trevor Immelman built on at Quail Hollow. Much of the growing identity of the team has been traced back to the slick International logo that debuted in 2019. As strangely unifying as playing under one shield has come to be, having attended the past two events and closely observed the Internationals, the captainship of Els was the true genesis of what many believe will be a new era for the world team.

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The South African’s powerful personality brought a swagger and leadership to his team that had everyone believing the impossible was possible. Don’t let the Big Easy moniker fool you, the swing is smooth but the man himself dominates any room he enters, including ones shared with US captain Tiger Woods at Royal Melbourne. That week, he stubbornly and repeatedly refused to give an inch, leading his team to a two-point lead before the Americans turned the tables in singles on Sunday.

At Quail Hollow, Immelman did a great job further strengthening the bond inside the International room, and his players clearly had a deep respect for the heart and soul that Immelman poured into the team. If there was one thing that seemed to be missing though, it was the cut-throat mentality that Els captained with. Immelman frequently mentioned how strong the American team was, giving their obvious superiority respect it certainly deserves, but one that Els in 2019 refused to give. The big South African wouldn’t have anything to do with the American’s supposed superiority, brusquely and briskly dismissing any such questions, treating the Americans as nothing more than a team to beat, not looking up to.

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Weir has seen both styles of leadership up close, and although he doesn’t naturally have the scene-stealing presence of Els, he has proven over his career to be a hard-nosed, no-nonsense competitor who doesn’t shy away from the spotlight.

It will be interesting to see what type of Captain Weir will be, but the best thing he could instill in his team would be the dogged willingness to fight and the unending passion to keep finding answers that saw him punch above his weight his entire career.

It may not be the warmest part of Weir’s personality, and it’s slightly softened over the years, but the 2003 Masters champ would be wise to dust it off and show his team how at least one underdog came out on top the hard way.

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